Why we do not believe Minister Bryan Kramer latest Explaination
As a Papa New Guinean, I take serious offence at the statements made by Mr Kramer explaining and justifying the high speed arrest, trial and conviction the drug pilot. It stinks of misinformation, misdirection and cover up.
In an effort to gain credibility, Mr Kramer paraphrases Assistant Commissioner Lesa Gale of the Australian Federal Police stating that this was a 2 year multi-agency operation involving Australian law enforcement agencies and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) and that they had been tracking the flight as it left Australia en route to PNG. ACP Gale is credible so that’s fine.
His falsehoods start in the following statement that: “At the time Police had yet to obtain any direct evidence of drug smuggling. No witnesses had come forward and no drugs were found at the crash site.” It clearly contradicts his assertions that he had been kept informed of what had been happening. It was a suspected drug run so why weren’t the Police Dog Unit and the CID Drug Squad alerted when the plane crashed? So either you were not aware it was a drug run or you were misinformed or both. This sounds like a clear lie.
Kramer then goes on to say that: “What was confirmed was that the pilot entered PNG illegally. In an effort to detain him while investigations were still ongoing he was charged for illegal entry, an offence under section 16(1) of Migration Act.” This is clear MISDIRECTION. (Reminds me of Mr Hotcakes!) Full blooded Papua New Guineans aren’t all fools or idiots or stupid or blind. All you had to do was charge him using the provisions of the National Pandemic Act 2020 which was recently rushed through Parliament! SIMPLE!!!
This act could have been used effectively (given our weak and piss poor drug laws). Section 47(1)(a) states that it is an offense where the offender refuses or fails to comply with a direction, notice or instruction is particularly applicable. Hence it is a clear and blatant breach of the flight restrictions and conditions imposed on travelers entering PNG during this SoE pandemic hence the provisions of this Act are valid and applicable. Other provisions include Sec. 28, 29, 44 and 45 of the same Act. And the penalties in this Act are very stiff. Surely you don’t need me to tell you that do you Minister? Or are you now saying that the Emergency Orders of the Controller of the SoE are to be applied selectively – against PNG nationals only and not foreigners (your Chinese tycoon “business investor”) or illegal immigrants? PLEASE ANSWER THIS.
Furthermore, why wasn’t the pilot quarantined for 14 days? Isn’t this period mandatory for all persons entering PNG from overseas whether legally or not? And wouldn’t that mandatory quarantine be time sufficient to conduct further investigations for other relevant and appropriate charges to be identified and laid against him as well? If not, then WHY NOT?
I find the Minister’s attempts at placating PNGeans or rallying support or simply justifying his position further down simply laughable and truly unbelievable where he says: “I noted many posts and comments on social media outraged with the Court's ruling. However, the Magistrate's ruling was correct in law. The pilot could not be charged and detained for smuggling drugs because at the time there was no evidence of any drugs being smuggled.” Does anyone honestly believe this? The fact is that you guys rushed to charge him under the Migration Act without even attempting to investigate further and/or consider the clear evidence before you of a breach of multiple laws.
Pictures on FB clearly show that at that time a substance was found within the plane itself which was suspected to have been cocaine. Are you saying that with your information from the AFP, you (or your officers) neglected to have the substance tested prior to the laying of the charges? How difficult would it be to confirm the composition of the substance given that the UPNG Chemistry Lab is 5 minutes away? That smacks of incompetency and a clear lack of coordination. So with the information available, how come the first persons on the scene were not either the Director of the National Narcotics Bureau or the CID OIC/Drugs Squad?
Your well written statement does not admit anywhere that there are clear provisions within the law for a suspect to be detained for 48 hours without charges (hence no bail) to allow for preliminary police investigations. In this case, such a detention was warranted in order to give time to ascertain the composition of the powdery substance found on the crashed plane. This would then have played a key factor in the aggravating circumstances of this case. It would also have given the prosecutor grounds to argue for a fully custodial sentence in addition to the fine to ensure the convict was available to assist police further in their investigations into this drug smuggling operation. None of these was done. The Minister does not tell us why and expects us to take his word for it.
Minister Kramer also neglected to mention that there is
nothing stopping the PNG police from charging him with our drug laws and
upon conviction, he can be remanded to Bomana. After serving his time
and paying his fine, he can be extradited or deported straight to the
Australian authorities to answer for his crimes in Australia.
The Minister fails to mention too that there are also very strict provisions within the Civil Aviation Act for pilots and aircrafts that fail to file proper and approved flight plans, who deliberately attempt to avoid radar detection, who deliberately switch off their fight transponders without authorisation and other similar acts. So can you now tell us if this Act will be applied here?
Another clearly MISLEADING statement Kramer makes is: “While I note the concerns of those who want the Australian pilot to be charged and sentenced in PNG, the reality is that once charged he would be entitled to bail, the case may drag on for some years, and if convicted the penalty would be no more than two years. In contrast, once deported to Australia he would face charges on arrival, be denied bail and face a life sentence.” Are you serious? I mean, WTF!!! So bloody what? They can have him AFTER we have had our bite of the cake.
Why are you misleading our people Mr Kramer? Are you now telling us that we have no provisions under the Bail Act to refuse a bail application? This is plain misdirection again! The fact is that a bail application, while a right, does not mean an applicant will be automatically granted bail. A bail application can be rejected on many grounds. In this case, the simple fact that as an illegal immigrant involved in (or suspected of being involved in) the smuggling and importing or exporting of highly illegal and dangerous drugs, he is a very real potential bail absconder and hence his bail application has a better than 99% chance of being rejected! And even if it was granted, then the authorities can rearrest him outside the court house on a number of other charges under the National Pandemic Act, the Criminal Code Act and the Civil Aviation Act!
Another fact Kramer knows and is well aware of but FAILED TO MENTION is that there is no market in PNG for such a large volume of cocaine. So how did these drugs get into PNG in the first place? Were they imported in? Or are they being manufactured right here in this country? To add to this, how effective has the interrogation of the pilot been?
Mr Kramer. You entered parliament on the anti-corruption ticket. We saw you as a solution to the problem. You lost my support years ago over the appointment of the Police Commissioner. And since then, you have gone sent on a number of major corruption issues happening under your watch as police minister.
Put simply, you are sounding more like a con-person. I might even go so
far as to say you are a traitor to the cause of eradicating corruption
in this country. Your explanations here are shallow, lack substance and
in my opinion serves only to highlight the very clear unprofessional
manner in which this case has been handled. The possible conclusions
a. You are trying to hoodwink us into believing that it has been handled correctly when in fact it has not. So by removing the man to Australia ASAP, you will take it out of PNG hands and then say that we have done all things possible within the law when we have not; or
b. You are covering up for others implicated or involved in this case; or
c. You yourself are a part of this drug cartel.
Your statement is factual but like all good misinformation it is misleading and false with grains of solid fact and are clearly intended to mislead and divert from the reals facts and valid questions.